Fri, Jun 16, 2017 - Page 16 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

RUGBY UNION

S Africa teams face cull

South Africa on July 7 is to announce which two of its six Super Rugby franchises are to be dumped from next year’s competition. The Central Cheetahs from Bloemfontein and the Southern Kings from Port Elizabeth are the media favorites for the chop. That would leave Coastal Sharks from Durban, the Golden Lions from Johannesburg, the Northern Bulls from Pretoria and the Western Stormers from Cape Town as the South Africa-based contenders next season. The decision is to be made after the South African Rugby Union has evaluated the on and off-field strengths and weaknesses of the six franchises.

CYCLING

Ex-UCI president dies

Former International Cycling Union (UCI) president Hein Verbruggen, who oversaw the worldwide spread of a sport often tainted by doping, has died. He was 75. The UCI and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) both reacted to the news on Wednesday, underscoring the Dutchman’s clout within both organizations. The IOC flew its flag at half staff and Dutch King Willem-Alexander, a former IOC member, called him “a man with a big heart for the Olympic movement, for cycling and those close to him.” Dutch cycling association spokesman Kevin Leenheers confirmed the death, saying Verbruggen died on Tuesday night. Critics said Verbruggen was too close to those involved in doping. He was often confronted for his relationship with Lance Armstrong of the US, who was the face of cycling with his seven Tour de France victories before he came to embody the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. Verbruggen faced accusers saying he was colluding with dopers instead of countering them. He proclaimed his innocence until his death.

SOCCER

Referees’ powers boosted

Referees at this year’s Confederations Cup in Russia are to have the power to abandon games over discriminatory behavior by fans as part of a three-step procedure to promote fair play during the tournament, governing body FIFA said. The procedure allows referees to halt the match and make a public announcement over discriminatory fan behavior, temporarily suspend the game if the problem persists and completely stop the match if the behavior does not stop. The governing body also introduced an initiative to deploy antidiscrimination officials into the crowd to detect and report abusive behavior.

SOCCER

South Korea sack coach

South Korea yesterday axed coach Uli Stielike after a shock defeat to Qatar left their World Cup qualification hanging in the balance. Germany’s Stielike, who has been in charge since 2014, paid the price for a poor run of results, including qualifying defeats to China and Iran. Tuesday’s 3-2 reverse was South Korea’s first loss to Qatar in 32 years and left them in danger of missing direct qualification for Russia next year. Lee Yong-soo, chairman of the Korean Football Association (KFA), also resigned in a shake-up ahead of their final two qualifying games. “As the results of the final World Cup qualification round did not meet our expectation, the KFA and coach Stielike decided to end Stielike’s contract under mutual agreement,” Lee said after a meeting in Seoul.

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